Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Washington, the place the Russkies are most likely to attack. While he admits that “the human element seems to have failed us in this city," it's still better than Germany, where he used to live.

Profession… adviser to the American military. When an military officer orders an unauthorized nuclear attack on Russia, it is Strangelove who first informs the President of the Russians' doomsday device, meant to prevent such an assault in the first place. Strangelove briefly considered developing a similar device for the US, but eventually concluded “it was not a practical deterrent, for reasons which, at this moment, must be all too obvious.”

Interests… coming up with doomsday scenarios. Say if the Russians did attack the US, for instance, and wiped it off the map. If people went down into mines, not only would they survive, they would also be full of nostalgia for those above and boldness toward the adventure ahead. To Stangelove, the prospect is almost exciting to think about.

Relationship Status… difficult. He's wheel-chair bound, and it's hard to find love in the USA when you are a former Nazi scientist.  That's why he changed his name to Strangelove – no woman wants her last name to be Merkwürdigliebe.

Challenge… helping reconcile the Americans to their inevitable doom. That's the whole idea of the doomsday machine, which would effectively rule out human meddling. To Strangelove, it's not only credible, it's also ridiculously easy to understand – so easy, in fact, that he can't believe that none of the other US officials knows what they're doing.

Personality… reformed Nazi – though Strangelove claims he was never with the Nazis, only following orders. Now, however, he wants to make sure the human race survives. Although grim, the situation still has hope – if the Russians attack, the nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Whatever else can be said, Strangelove is nothing if not an optimist.


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